Libraries Are More Than Books

blog booksThis weekend we discovered libraries are more than just books. Earlier in the week when I was at the Red Deer Public Library main branch I noticed a poster for “Kids Knit (and grown-ups too!)”, I casually mentioned it to my 10 year old daughter and she was really keen on going. It seemed like a great thing to try, after all to a knitter a one hour time slot for knitting, on a cold afternoon, in a quiet spot, sounds pretty awesome.

blog library knittingWell in fact it WAS pretty awesome. Two long tables of grandmas, moms and kids; a great turnout for a blustery day. Knitters from novice to experienced. I enjoyed the knitting part while my daughter really enjoyed the socializing part. She is really skilled at making new friends and having a chat.

blog knitting fingerless mittsI finally had a chance to work on a pair of fingerless mitts that I am actually going to keep for myself. They are dyed in marigold and madder with lots of stranded knitting. After the library knitting session all that is left are the thumbs and weaving in ends.

The library program runs twice a month, so there are 5 more sessions left, and it is drop-in. It is definitely worth checking out. My daughter is already talking about “next time”……evidently we are also stopping for a snack and a coffee next time we go……..a girl’s afternoon out!

Darling Child Portrait

vintage child photography, red deer, alberta

I shared an image from this shoot on my other blog, , but I just couldn’t resist posting one of the other images here. I love the vintage and timeless look. The rubber boots simply make the shot. I hope this picture makes you smile as much as it makes me smile!

Hunter Photographics
child and family photography in Red Deer, Alberta

Eco-print Experiment Success

I expect the occasional reader is going to look at this post and say “Huh?”, shake their head, and move on, but I am pretty excited about the outcome of this latest eco print.

madder marigold rose leaf eco-printI have been toying with mixing naturally dyed cloth with eco-printing. There have been some disasters and disappointments along the way. Sometimes an idea on paper doesn’t exactly work in the dye pot. This time I finally achieved a useable result. The fabric is dyed with marigold grown in my garden and madder, plus eco-printed with rose leaves from my front garden. The fabric is 100% cotton and measures 22 inches by 45 inches, so a decent sized piece of fabric to work with.

madder marigold rose leaf eco-printInterestingly, when I unbundled the piece there were tons of little spots that seemed to resist the dyeing and eco-printing in the very centre of the dots. I have no idea what created the dots, but I guess that is the joy of eco-printing, never knowing exactly what the final result will be.

This should be an interesting piece to turn into “something” in the coming winter months.

Bundling Up For Winter

The race is on. The last days of summer are coming to an end and I am busy eco printing and bundling fabrics to be used through the winter months. One hard frost and all the eco printing plants in my front garden will be done, what a sad thought.

laying out the leavesI have been super happy with my rose leaf eco prints recently. Not only am I achieving some lovely fabrics, but I am also slowly pruning a very large rose bush.

rose leafI start by laying out the prepped fabric and laying out the leaves.

all bundled upThen I bundle up the fabric, add some heat, add some time, and a dip.

eco printed fabricIsn’t it lovely!?

And all printed from nature.

Pretty cool.

eco printed fabric detailNow to plot what I will create from the piece. A pillow, a table runner, an art piece….we will have to see!

Finished pieces can be seen at and at .

How I Spent My Weekend ….. (or tying, tying, tying)

august bracelets blogMore bracelets all naturally hand dyed and hand tied by “moi!”. Tying was very successful this weekend, I played with adding some very fine naturally dyed silk thread and different beads. The colors in this set are different variations of madder, cutch and turmeric. I have new threads mordanting as I write plus some new dye colors to come in the very near future. Building inventory has never been so much fun.

(Online store coming soon, but if you just have to have a bracelet, please use the contact info below!)

Studio H
(handcrafted & naturally dyed wearables and art)

“Somewhere” in Yellowhead County

yellowhead county, alberta We spent this weekend again roaming the back roads of Alberta. Generally we stick to Parkland County or Lac Ste. Anne County, but this weekend we ventured a little further afield into Yellowhead County. Yellowhead County is about an hour west of Edmonton on Hwy 16 (ever notice how distance in Alberta is measured in time! LOL!) and it is very easy to get off the beaten track (quickly!). This is a land of pretty scenery, beautiful farmland and deserted gravel roads. In addition to great views we were treated to this amazing sky with light streaming through the clouds.

Lake Isle – Drama in the Sky

Storm over Lake Isle, AlbertaWe were out at the cabin again on the weekend, a nice way to escape the noise and commitments (A.K.A. “laundry”) of the city. We had just finished clearing up dinner on Saturday when I looked out our back window that has a view of fields and trees to see a weird, funky cloud hanging in the air. I looked out our front window and noticed the same cloud hanging over the lake. This appeared to be a photo op and I just had to check it out. I quickly made the 100 meter trek down to the lake, entourage in tow, only to realize I had never seen another cloud like it. It was strange but amazing. I fired off shot after shot as the light shifted and then went.

Storm over Lake Isle, AlbertaStorm over Lake Isle, AlbertaStorm over Lake Isle, AlbertaStorm over Lake Isle, Alberta

After shooting the sky we decided we needed to run out quickly for provisions…..okay, actually something in the form of an “evil” snack containing chocolate. We headed for Darwell and the sky grew darker. The store was closed. We headed for Fallis Store under even darker skies. The store was closed. (Note: we run on a very different time clock to most people, this explains why the stores were closed!) We headed to Darby’s General Store at Seba Beach under ominous skies, and the store was OPEN. RESULT! (….and it was quite busy too, probably due to the fact it also sells “liquid refreshments”!)

We went the slightly longer more scenic route on the way home. This is when the drama in the sky really started. Lightning surrounded us on all sides. Thunder clapped loudly. It was one of those unpredictable storms when you never know where the lightning will flash next. Halfway home we realized we should have taken the quicker route. The storm had all the deer on edge, we had never seen so many jumping out of the ditches and into the road. watching the lightning and watching for deer made for a slow drive home. (We hit a deer once and hope to avoid that situation again. It wasn’t much fun , but even less fun for our vehicle that suffered $15K worth of damage!)

We finally made it back to the cabin and the storm had eased a little. Momentarily. Then it returned. Lightning. Wind. Then the power started to go off periodically. When the power starts going off and on in the cabin we take care of important things first…..we put the kettle on…..seriously. Our philosophy is if you are going to be hanging around reading by candlelight you might as well have a nice hot cup of tea or coffee to drink. It is important to know what one’s top priorities are in life!

The storm eventually eased up and the power stopped going on and off. It was definitely an evening of drama in the sky.

(I had a lot less drama the next day with a lovely little photo shoot along the edge of Lake Isle. If you’d like to take a look, just click here! It’s the same dock in the background but very different weather.)

Beading Again

beaded sun blogThis piece was originally going to be more about the naturally dyed silk and less about stitching and beading. Once I started on the sun I knew the whole focus of the piece just had to change. Even though this piece will probably take me 100 times longer than my original plan ( or at least feel like it is taking 100 times longer! ), beading is exactly what the piece is calling for.

( Need something to read? I also blog at and at . My work with Hunter Photographics can also be viewed at or on my Facebook page . )

FINALLY finished painting the studio (finally!)

studio portrait 3 blogWell I never thought it would happen but I finally finished painting the studio. “Finally” should be written in capitals,  in bold, underlined and perhaps printed in the color red. I swear it took an eternity and a half to finish. It is a big space. It does have high ceilings. But to make things even better it was an absolute joy to paint the floor with the smelliest oil based paint known to man in an unventilated area. Layer after layer after layer of sticky, smelly paint. It is no mystery why I don’t repaint this area every year or two.

Previously this area was painted in dark blues, so the light earth tones are a significant change. Updating is good. It makes you rethink how to light and shoot your subject.

This is one of a handful of images shot to test the studio area. I have a few more shots in this post on . I also tend to post samples on my website at and on my Facebook page if you are interested in seeing more work.